This year I got to celebrate Mother's Day with my mom for the first time since moving here in 2004! What an unexpected surprise. I'll post another time about our whirlwind tour during the day of the Arbat, Kremlin and Red Square area... Now I'll focus on our "Moms' Night Out," when we left all four kids at home with our babysitter...
Destination? The Bolshoi Theater.
Show? "Giselle", danced by the Bolshoi Theater Ballet Company.
Added bonus? One of the most famous dancers in the world, Nikolai Tsiskaridze, danced the lead.
We just managed to get back to the apartment in time to change into "theater" clothes. It was so darn hot inside (in part because our babysitter was making STACKS of blini that we all devoured) that we were thrilled to hurry away half an hour later. It was quite a dash to get there on time, stopping to pick up the tickets from the box office. (Oh, how we DREAM of air conditioning!)
I should note that I went ahead and purchased all four tickets before I even had confirmation that my mom and Cecilia (my friend Rachel's mom) would be joining us on this trip! As soon as I heard they were considering it, I logged onto the Bolshoi's website and managed to snag the only four remaining tickets for any ballet during the dates they would be here. So glad I did!
We stopped in the buffet area for some water and espresso before climbing the stairs to our seats. Ah, relaxation! It's funny how even when moms go out, there are secret (or not-so-secret) "mementos" of the kids back home... Rachel's ruffles splendidly hid the raspberry jam splatters from Jack's "flying" blini before we left... I had some Barbie stickers stuck to the bottom of one of my heels... (Hey, better than gum... or dog poo!)
I only brought my point-and-shoot camera, so these pictures are the best I can do. Here's the beautiful ceiling inside the theater.
The back of the theater.
The front, orchestra pit and stage.
We sat one floor up in the front row of the "Belle étage." We got to lean over and rest on the velvet arm rests and except for when the action took place to the far left, we had an excellent, unimpeded view. Fortunately the "aroma" of the women who had tried to take over our seats until we arrived didn't linger for long.
We were all so sleep-deprived that I half expected us to doze off repeatedly during the show... But it was SO GOOD that we were riveted. PHENOMENALLY GOOD.
I had never seen Nikolai Tsiskaridze dance before... Now I know why he is such a superstar. The prima ballerina was fantastic, too. I hope they do something charitable with all the flowers they receive! They could have filled a ward in a hospital with all those bouquets!
Afterwards our mothers felt inspired to dance in front of the theater... The beribboned patriotic red sculpture was still up for Victory Day.
The facade you see is actually a screen that is up while the building is undergoing extensive renovation. The actual "Bolshoi Theater" has been closed to the public since 2005 and is slated to reopen in 2013. Since the repairs began, all work has been performed on the beautiful "New Stage" located next door.
We crossed the main street using the underground passageway and lucked out when a vendor was clearly desperate to make some final sales for the day... He had an excellent collection of lacquered boxes and matrioshka dolls. Rachel found an adorable "Cheburashka" set to save for her Katya and my mom found a beautiful traditional set for her friend. We paid 40% of what he had originally asked!
The night lights we so pretty (the city is gorgeous all lit up at night, particularly the Kremlin and GUM department store) that we decided to have the cab driver (um, guy we hitchhiked with) take us on a loop to see some more major sights. Bad idea. It turns out that there was a biker convention (as in motorcycles) at Sparrow Hills... And you got the distinct impression that many of these guys thought that beer was the perfect refreshment while using a motorcycle at night...
Moscow State University
Oh, we were "SO NOT IN KANSAS ANYMORE" (to quote Dorothy from "The Wizard of Oz")... Enough was enough. We headed straight home. Part of me really wanted to get a picture of all of those hundreds of bikes parked in front of the centuries-old Orthodox church... But there was NO way the moms were letting me out of that car for a split second.
I now leave you with a video of Tsiskaridze performing in Giselle... No, I didn't sneak my video camera into the theater! I found this on youtube. He's absolutely brilliant...